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[ Jupiter ]

·Astronomy: Jupiter - Speed of Light-THE GALILEAN MOONS AND THE SPEED OF LIGHT
·Astronomy: Jupiter - Solar System-SOLAR SYSTEM POT-STIRRER
·Astronomy: Jupiter - Sketching Tool-SKETCHING TOOLS AND TECHNIQUES
·Astronomy: Jupiter - Rotation-ROUND AND ROUND
·Astronomy: Jupiter - Ring-JOVE'S RINGLET
·Astronomy: Jupiter - Photograph-JOVIAN PHOTOS
·Astronomy: Jupiter - Particle-PARTICLES AND FIELDS
·Astronomy: Jupiter - OBSERVING JUPITER

  Planet Observation: Astronomy: Pluto - SEEING PLUTO
Posted on Tuesday, December 07 @ 13:15:21 CST by astronomy
  Planet Observation


Pluto is a tough challenge for any planet watcher. At about 14th magnitude, it is a very faint object. You need a telescope of at least 8 inches (200 mm) to find it—but a 10 inch (250 mm) or larger scope makes the job a lot easier. With an apparent diameter ot less than 0.1 arcsecond, Pluto displays no visible disk and looks no different than a star.

So how do you know when you have found it? Basically, you locate the correct field of view, map (by hand or with a camera) every star you see down to 15th magnitude, and recheck the field a night or two later. The star that has moved in the interval is Pluto.

Astronomy magazines publish finder charts for Pluto, which are a great help for getting your telescope into the right area of the sky. Computer-driven telescopes can make the job even easier. But actual identification still calls for observations over several nights to spot the moving dot.

And do it within the next few years or so. Pluto already lies north ofAntares in Scorpius and is approaching the Milky Way. Once there, the crowded star fields will make identifying this distant world much more difficult.




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